EU – Baltic States, Latvia, Security

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NATO combat helicopters, naval units and Patriot missile systems needed to improve security in Latvia - Pabriks

BC, Riga, 11.11.2019.Print version
In terms of security, Latvia is currently not in a bad position because long-term presence of NATO forces is relatively guaranteed, but the Alliance's combat helicopters, navies and Patriot missile systems are needed to improve the security level in Latvia, Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (For Development/For) said in an interview with LETA.

The recently approved National Security Concept states that it is in Latvia's interest to continue to look for opportunities to increase the permanent presence of NATO forces in Latvia. Latvia is currently in talks with all the countries represented by soldiers stationed in the country, including with the United States, because the presence of allies is very important, said Pabriks.


Latvia would certainly like to see permanent U.S. military presence in the Baltic countries, therefore Pabriks is pleased that the United States is already planning to deploy more troops to Poland, as this is directly relevant to Baltic security.


Likewise, Latvia would definitely like to have a permanent and long-term deployment of NATO battle groups in the Baltic countries, as this would further improve security in the Baltics. This, of course, depends on the attitudes of the governments of the countries that have sent soldiers to Latvia, as governments change and not all politicians understand the geopolitical situation and history of the Baltic countries in the same way, the minister explained.


"We have to work with all these countries because the 1,700 soldiers in the battle group will not stay here forever. Therefore we need to make it clear that the presence of NATO troops is needed for as long as there is an asymmetric security situation between the West and Russia," the minister added.


Pabriks though does not expect that a decision on permanent presence of NATO troops in the Baltic countries will be made at this year's NATO summit in London.

Pabriks would also like to see more diversified armament in Latvia, such as combat helicopters. Given the security challenges, a small but effective naval unit should be stationed in Liepaja, and it would not be bad if a couple of U.S. Patriot missile systems were deployed in Latvia.


That way, Latvia would feel much, much safer and far enough away from Russia's defiant behavior, said Pabriks.






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